An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, especially when it comes to a child's health. That is why the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI, a global health partnership between the private and public sectors, is committed to saving children's lives by accelerating the financing and delivery of new vaccines to the world’s most disadvantaged populations.
Launched in the year 2000, GAVI unites donor governments, global foundations, private donors and international health organizations with developing-world governments to deliver life-saving new vaccines to children in need.
By its own estimates, GAVI has helped prevent over 5 million deaths by immunizing some 288 million children. Nonetheless, millions of children still have no access to immunization, and every year, nearly two million of them die from vaccine-preventable diseases.
GAVI has set an ambitious plan to immunize yet another 240 million children by the year 2015, which could prevent some 4 million child deaths. At a recent donor pledging conference in London, England, Donors pledged a total of $4.3 billion, far surpassing the $3.7 billion target set by GAVI. The United States, represented by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is one of GAVI’s donor nations.
"Over the next three years," said USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, "we will devote $450 million to GAVI's mission, which seizes upon the opportunity to save 4 million lives by 2015. The United States' coordinated support for GAVI complements the efforts of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and USAID in the research, development and use of vaccines.
"This multi-year commitment leverages the billions of dollars that other donors have committed to GAVI, multiplying the impact of our funding more than eight-fold."
Quoting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Dr. Shah said that "Poor health undermines social stability and ultimately threatens our country's own national security. Our commitment to GAVI will prevent the deaths of millions of children, and will increase global stability and strengthen our national security."